Television Business International

Ex-Turner & Amblin chief to lead Epix

Michael WrightFormer Turner and Amblin Partners chief Michael Wright has joined MGM’s US premium pay TV channel Epix as president.

Wright (pictured) recently exited his role as CEO of Amblin Partners, the programming and film business Steven Spielberg launched with Participant Media, Reliance Entertainment and Entertainment One.

He is taking over Epix as it settles into life as a wholly owned subsidiary of US studio MGM, which recently bought Lionsgate and Viacom out for just over US$1 billion.

Wright will report to MGM CEO and chairman Gary Barber when he begins his new role on December 4 in LA.

He has been charged with overseeing original programming, creative and marketing, with Monty Sarhan, executive VP and general manager, remaining in charge of business affairs.

Sarhan will work closely with MGM’s president of worldwide television distribution and acquisitions, Chris Ottinger, on international distribution matters.

Wright is best known as president and head of programming for Turner cable channels TBS, TNT and Turner Classic Movies, and for launching Amblin Partners as CEO in 2015.

He left the latter role in September, with director Spielberg replacing him. He had begun working with Spielberg after leaving Turner in 2014, initially as head of DreamWorks Studios and then at Amblin Partners, in which China’s Alibaba Group took a stake in October 2016.

He has worked on films such as The Girl on the Train, Ready Player One and The House with a Clock while at DreamWorks and Amblin, and TV series such as Southlands, Falling Skies, Cougar Town and Angie Tribeca at Turner.

Epix’s upcoming originals include About the Harry Quebert Affair and a second season of the TV adaptation of Get Shorty .

MGM’s Barber said Wright’s “television industry experience and creative instincts are the perfect combination to help us execute on our original content strategy for Epix and drive additional value creation for MGM overall”.